Soldier Killed During RAF Weapons Range Training

2 November 2016, 05:17 | Updated: 2 November 2016, 12:36

A soldier has been killed during a training exercise at an RAF weapons range in the Scottish Highlands.

Emergency services were called to RAF Tain, north of Inverness, at around 6pm on Tuesday.

Police Scotland said one person had died but there were "no other casualties as a result of the incident''.

The victim's next of kin have been informed, a force spokesman said.

A cordon was set up around the base on the Dornoch Firth, in Easter Ross, while authorities dealt with the incident.

The training facility is used by the RAF and the Army. It has a rifle range and a small arms range as well as bombing ranges for aircraft.

Police Scotland are leading the investigation into the death.

A spokesman said: "Police along with Scottish ambulance service personnel attended where there was found to be one person fatally injured.

"There were no other casualties as a result of the incident and next of kin have been informed by police.

"Police Scotland is leading the investigation to establish the full circumstances of this incident and is working closely with the armed forces.

"This was a contained incident and there was no threat to the public.''

An Army spokeswoman said officials were aware of an incident but it would be "inappropriate for us to comment further at this point''.

The Tain range is also used by US Air Force and other Nato air forces for bombing and strafing practice. It has 18 targets suitable for a variety of weapons.

Depute leader of Highland Council, Alasdair Rhind, said he believes the incident involved the rifle and target range.

He said: "The police gave me a briefing late last night, letting me know about the incident and just assuring me they had everything under control and the incident wouldn't affect the general public at large.

"It's very sad to see that somebody has lost their life.''

He continued: "Obviously we've got to let the authorities, the police and the military, carry out their investigations and I'm sure we will get further briefings from them in due course.

"I would think our community would be more concerned with the family of the person who lost their life down there and our sympathies go to that family today.

Mr Rhind said the Tain range has a "very good safety record'' and he could not recall any previous such incidents.

The death comes a little more than two months after a soldier was shot dead during a live-firing exercise at Otterburn Training Area in Northumberland.

Private Conor McPherson, 24, a member of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, sustained a serious head wound on August 22.

Just over a month before that, a soldier died on a training exercise on the hottest day of the year in Brecon, South Wales.

Joshua Hoole, from Ecclefechan, near Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, was on pre-course training for the Platoon Sergeants' Battle Course when he died on July 19.

The 26-year-old member of The Rifles regiment collapsed after a fitness test near the Dering Lines infantry training centre at about 6.30am.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding both earlier deaths.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "This is a tragic incident and my deepest condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the person who has died.

"It is another important reminder of the often difficult and dangerous job our armed forces do every day.''

Theresa May used Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons to pass on her condolences to the serviceman's family.

The Prime Minster said: "I and, I'm sure, the whole House would wish to pass on our condolences to the friends and family of the serviceman who has died at the Tain range.''

She made the comments after the SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson raised the tragedy in the Commons.

He said: "It is with sadness that we learnt of the death of a serviceman in a live firing exercise at the range in Tain, and no doubt the Prime Minister, and colleagues across this House will extend their condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the serviceman who has died so tragically.''